She Leads, You Follow: Ellen DeGeneres ED Collection

It’s safe to say that everyone pretty much loves TV host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres. And now you have one more thing to love about her: her new lifestyle brand, ED. The new collection, whose name POPSUGAR says comes from Portia de Rossi’s nickname for Ellen, is filled with easy-to-wear wardrobe staples, including soft t-shirts, comfy sweatshirts and tailored blazers. The collection is replete with clean lines and tailored silhouettes that any wardrobe would benefit from, and according to POPSUGAR, no piece is over $395. We pretty much want everything in the 60-piece apparel collection, but instead of emptying the bank to buy all that, THL decided to pull our favorite pieces from the collection to share with you so maybe you can buy a piece (or two or three) and tell us how you like it — because we’re pretty sure you’re going to like it!

The Raglan Baseball Crew was the first piece of the collection to catch our eye. This comfy crew is made with Japanese cotton which provides a really soft, luxurious feel you are sure to love. The soft colors make it easy to pair with your favorite pair of jeans, making it a very wearable piece for your everyday adventures. The Raglan Baseball Crew is available at EdByEllen.com for $125.

We also loved the ED Seersucker Short, a perfect lightweight short for those hot summer days. It’s so hard to find a short that is not too short (because how often have we tried on shorts that are WAY too short), so what’s great about these is that they have a 4 1/2 inch inseam, making them just long enough to give us some coverage without being too long. This cute short is sure to be your new summer favorite, and they are available at EdByEllen.com for $95.

Perhaps the most versatile piece from the collection is the ED Classic Cotton Blazer. This blazer is the perfect utility player to add to your wardrobe; it can be easily dressed up for a work look with a cute button down (read on for an adorable button down from the ED collection!) or dressed down with your favorite pair of jeans. Blazers with great seaming detail like this one are a great way to look polished while still maintaining a very crisp, precise shape. The ED Classic Cotton Blazer is available for $175 at EdbyEllen.com.

If you are looking for something to wear underneath the gorgeous cotton blazer, look no further than the ED Italian Mini Circles Print button down shirt. This button down is made of an imported Italian fabric, featuring a subtle white dot print on a navy background. The seaming on the shirt offers a very tailored, almost custom-like fit, making it a wardrobe must-have. The Italian Mini Circles Print button down is available at EdbyEllen.com for $145.

No wardrobe is complete without a pair of well-fitting pants. Luckily, the ED Collection offers just the right pair. The ED Windowpane Merino Tailored Pant is made with Italian Super 120’s Tropical Weight Merino wool, allowing for these pants to transition to any season or climate. This pant features a subtle tone-on-tone windowpane pattern, which adds a little bit of personality into a wardrobe basic. The ED Windowpane Merino Tailored Pant is $175 at EdbyEllen.com.

If you love any of the pieces you’ve seen so far, check out the entire collection at EdByEllen.com — there are so many other great items available, from bracelets and pins to fun tote bags and caps. And don’t forget to check out the ED Home section to furnish your home in other fantastic “Ellen-ware”!

Happy Shopping!

Born to Dance

The American Ballet Theatre announced on Tuesday that Misty Copeland, famed ballerina who recently made her New York debut in “Swan Lake,” has been named principal dancer at the company. According to The Associated Press, Copeland is “the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.”

The Associated Press says that Copeland, 32, has risen to fame over the past few years, appearing on the cover of Time magazine earlier in 2015 as one of their most influential people, while also penning a children’s book and a memoir. Her memoir,  “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” which tells of the challenges she faced in achieving her dreams, has been optioned for a movie, according to The Associated Press.

Copeland has also been an influential force in diversifying the world of ballet. In an interview with The Associated Press, author and former editor of Dance Magazine Wendy Perron said that in Copeland’s performance of Swan Lake last week, a more diverse audience gathered to watch her dance, including a strong presence of “young black girls in their party dresses.” Perron said, “‘She singlehandedly made that a diverse audience.'”

Former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and director of the International Dance Festival Damian Woetzel told The Associated Press, “‘…As a groundbreaking principal dancer, she will continue to inspire and make possible much-needed changes for our field and for the arts in America.'”

Congratulations, Misty Copeland!

She Leads, You Follow: BET Awards Edition

The BET Awards took place last night in Los Angeles, and while the award show itself was a can’t miss, there were also a ton of can’t miss fashions on the red carpet. Here are just a few of our favorite looks of the night:

Ciara wowed on the red carpet last night with boyfriend Russell Wilson, wearing a beaded gunmetal Wes Gordon dress which she paired with a similar gunmetal-colored heel. She kept her jewelry and accessories to a minimum, letting her stunning dress and her equally stunning beauty speak for itself.

Although she wore a different dress on the red carpet of the BET Awards, the black and white ensemble Nicki Minaj wore during the show was something to be admired. Replete with cutouts at the bust and waist, Minaj looked breathtakingly beautiful in this edgy take on a classic combination, which she punched up with a pair of sparkly tri-tone Rene Caovilla t-strap pumps.

Gabrielle Union kept it classy in a sparkly black Harlston Heritage gown that featured a halter neckline and subtly sexy cutouts at the waist. Union kept the rest of her accessories fairly simple, wearing a few white bracelets and carrying a black clutch.

Perhaps our favorite look of the night came from Nicole Ari Parker, who wore a white longsleeve gown with lace paneling detail. She paired the white-hot look with medium-sized chandelier earrings, although we think her best accessory was husband Boris Kodjoe, who matched his wife in a summery all-white look.

As always, there are some important things we can learn from these red carpet looks to spruce up what we wear everyday — because as they say, the world is our runway (or in this case, our red carpet!). Here’s what to remember:

  1. Try metal tones – Although you may think metal tones are only reserved for, well, metals, Ciara showed us that metal tones can look great on shoes and even dresses. Metallics like gunmetal are technically neutrals, so pieces in tones like gunmental, gold, silver or bronze are multifunctional because they can be paired with pretty much any color. If you want to introduce some metal tones/metallics into your wardrobe, start small. Try a strappy sandal like those worn by Ciara to get a taste of the metallic in your wardrobe. Once you get the hang of incorporating it into your wardrobe, upgrade to metallic bags or even an awesome metallic blazer (which can be a great piece for a girl’s night out!).
  2. Black and white is always a good idea – You can never go wrong with black and white, and Nicki Minaj certainly proved that in her BET Awards ensemble. What is particularly great about her outfit is that she wore the classic combination in a way that was refreshing and a bit sexy, adapting the classic to her own personality. If you want to wear black and white but are hesitant about looking dated, try to find pieces that are structurally different so the colors end up being presented in a new way. Try a fun crop top, a striped asymmetrical pencil skirt or even a shoe that takes black and white to the next level.
  3. Cutouts and paneling, oh my! – Gabrielle Union’s gorgeous gown showed us that cutouts are a great way to create shape in an outfit while also showing off a little skin in a nontraditional way. If you want to try out some cutouts, start small. The best place to start with cutouts to create shape is at the natural waist, so look for a dress or top that shows a little bit of skin at your natural waistline, but be sure not to show too much skin elsewhere (i.e. cleavage). If you just like the idea of cutouts in general, try a piece with a simple front and cutouts in the back; this not only acts as a little surprise in your outfit, but it also ensures that you’ll look good coming and going! But if the idea of showcasing open skin is a little scary, Nicole Ari Parker showed us another great option: paneling. The lace paneling in her gown functions in a similar way to cutouts by being able to create shape, while also showing just a little peek of skin. If paneling is more your speed, you can still look for pieces that have either mesh or lace paneling at the natural waist to create shape, or paneling at the back to create a visually interesting outfit.

Take Her Look [For Less]

The streets of New York City have been a little more fashionable now that Jennifer Lawrence has been spending more time in the city. The Daily Mail reports that the actress, who has been house hunting in The Big Apple for the past month, was spotted yesterday in Tribeca wearing an all-black crop top ensemble. According to VogueLawrence’s bustier-style crop top and pencil skirt are from the Michael Kors Collection, which she styled with an Ana Khouri necklace, Roger Vivier clutch and Jimmy Choo gladiators.

It’s hard not to envy Lawrence’s entire outfit from head to toe, but what THL covets the most are those gorgeous Jimmy Choo heels. While these gladiators effortlessly tie in her gold clutch and necklace with their gold heels, their price tag is not effortlessly affordable — they originally retail for $950 at NET-A-PORTER, but they are on sale for lofty $570. However, if you lover Lawrence’s trendy gladiator style, there are a few other options out there that can mimic her style at a fraction of the cost.

If you love the combination of black and gold on Lawrence’s Jimmy Choo heels, Luichiny combines the two in a comparable gladiator heel. The Take A Bow heel does have more straps and more gold accents running across the top of the foot, but it is just as stylish and easy to wear as Lawrence’s similar style. These heels, however, are available at Heels.com for only $99.

Nordstrom Rack offers another alternative to Lawrence’s Jimmy Choos, and what makes this pair so great is that they are under $100. The Beatrice High Heel Sandal by Modern Rush has a similar strap pattern to Lawrence’s heels, while still offering a hint of gold in the side zipper. These heels were originally priced at $79.99, but Nordstrom Rack has them for only $34.97!

So if you love Jennifer Lawrence’s gladiators but can’t bear the thought of spending over $500 for a shoe that is supposedly “on sale,” give one of these similarly stylish options a try! And don’t forget to pair them with some gold accessories to bring your whole look together!

She Leads, You Follow: Solange Knowles

Leave it to Solange Knowles to revamp the classic double-breasted pant suit. Vogue reported that the singer and famous sister of Beyoncé Knowles stepped out earlier this week to attend Kiehl’s kickoff party for Pride in a yellow and taupe colorblocked suit which she paired with a white pointy-toe pump and ruby red lip. The suit is from a line called Harbison, which touts itself as an androgynous women’s clothing line, speaking to both the “vulnerability and strength, to the hard and the soft” in all people.

Knowles breathed some life into the double-breasted suit style in a few subtle, yet important ways, so here’s what to keep an eye on if you want to recreate her look:

  1. Color can be a game-changer – By wearing the suit in a colorblocked look, Knowles is changing the overall tone of the suit, making it more fun than business-oriented. Notice, however, that she did not compromise fit or shape to achieve this more relaxed vibe; the suit is tailored to perfection, giving her a strong shoulder and defining her waistline by having the yellow in the jacket begin exactly at her natural waist.
  2. Play with contradictions – Knowles makes this look more evening and party appropriate by leaving her neckline open and showing just a peek of cleavage, which contradicts the hard lines of the exaggerated lapel and the overall connotation of a suit being strictly for ‘business.’ Playing with contradictions like ‘sexy vs. business’ or ‘sweet vs. edgy’ can help create visual interest in an outfit without having to rely on accessories and flashy details; figuring out the contradictions becomes a sort of ‘psychological accessory,’ making the outfit much more intriguing.
  3. Small details matter – If you notice, Knowles picked up on the white of the big, whimsical buttons on her blazer and carried that over into her shoes. This creates a more unified, cohesive look, allowing for white to become a sort of motif recurrent in the ensemble; even though her outfit is only three pieces (blazer, trousers and shoes), it seems like there is so much more going on because there are many small details to pay attention to and think about. Making sure that all the details of an outfit work together will make your outfit that much more pulled together, and it will leave people thinking about how you managed to put such an interesting outfit together.

Take Her Look [For Less]

If you thought monochromatic was boring, Selena Gomez just proved you wrong. EOnline reported yesterday that Gomez was spotted in New York City earlier this week wearing an all black and white ensemble upon the release of her latest single, “Good For You,” and she showed us all that black and white is certainly good for her!

Gomez wore a black and white Balmain crop top (which she actually wore backwards so the zipper detail was in the front), pairing the top with high-waisted L’Agence trousers, Saint Laurent pointy-toe booties, a Gucci crossbody bag and Saint Laurent sunglasses.

While Gomez looks stunning in this outfit, what is perhaps most stunning is how much this complete outfit costs. EOnline reports that the completed look totaled $3,311, with her shoes alone making up a third of the price at $1,050! But, if you want to take Gomez’s look for less, you are in luck – we set out to recreate her entire look for only $150, and what we found may shock you!

The first order of business was finding a black and white crop top that was even remotely close to Gomez’s $611 Balmain top, which was no easy task. But, we managed to find a similar color-blocked style at Tobi — the Cross it Over Crop Top offers a black and white colorblock look with a high neckline reminiscent of Gomez’s Balmain look, but it has some cutouts that Gomez’s top does not have. What this top also has that Gomez’ top doesn’t is a small price tag: this top comes in at a reasonable $44!

Finding high-waisted black trousers sounds like it should be easy, but it actually was the hardest part of the process. After some searching, THL finally landed on the Trouser We Go Black High-Waisted Pants from Lulu’s. Although this trousers have the same high-waistline, they do not have the same wide-leg look, but it still creates a chic look nonetheless. These fitted trousers come in at $37, compared to Gomez’s $295 pair.

Because Gomez’s $1,050 Saint Laurent booties were completely covered by her trousers, we decided to go for a simple pointy-toe pump instead. We found these classic faux leather pointy-toe pumps from Forever 21 for only $19.90 to mimic the shape of Gomez’s booties without actually seeing the rest of the shoe.

Gomez’s logo-embossed $980 Gucci crossbody bag certainly cannot be duplicated, so we opted for a simple brown faux leather crossbody with a knotted detail on the front flap. This bag has a similar rich cognac tone to Gomez’s Gucci bag, but it definitely does not have the same price tag, coming it at only $22.90 at Forever 21.

Dark-tinted aviators complete the duplicate look for only $5.90 at Forever 21 — who could tell that these sunglasses aren’t the same $375 Saint Laurent glasses that Gomez is wearing?!

THL set out to recreate Selena Gomez’s $3,311 monochromatic look for less than $150, so how did we do? Our pieces from Tobi, Lulu’s and Forever 21 totaled only $129.70, affording this pricey look to all those who admire it! So if you love Gomez’s look but couldn’t get past the price, take our lead and try out some of our recommendations! Happy shopping!

She Leads, You Follow: Demi Lovato

If you thought floral was only for spring, think again. Singer Demi Lovato proved today that floral is as much as summer print as it is a spring print, donning a strapless floral jumpsuit in yellow, purple and blue to promote her new single “Cool For the Summer” in New York City today.  The singer paired her jumpsuit with a neon pastel yellow wing satchel, an off-white high heel sandal and an orange-coral lip.

While this may look like a difficult look to pull off, there are a few tricks that make this work. Here are some tips to remember when trying to recreate Lovato’s lovely look:

  1. Designate the lead role – In Lovato’s outfit, she clearly makes her printed jumpsuit the star of the show, keeping her accessories and jewelry fairly simple. So if you decide to go for an all-over print, be sure to keep the rest of the supporting pieces of your outfit simple; this means clean lines, classic shapes and low-key jewelry.
  2. Use your print as a blueprint – Using the print in your outfit to inspire your accessories can create a cohesive, thoughtful look. Lovato showed us exactly how to do this, pulling out the yellow from her jumpsuit to wear a similar shade in her satchel and pulling out the off-white of her jumpsuit to wear the same hue in her shoes. Although this can seem like being too “matchy-matchy,” it actually makes her outfit look more complete. And since none of the color she chose to carry over into her accessories were the main colors in the print, it helped to accent those colors in a way that the print alone did not.
  3. Introduce a bold color in a subtle way – When wearing a bold, all-over print like Lovato’s, you would normally want to work with only the colors in that print. But Lovato also worked a contrasting color into her look — coral. However, she wore the coral in a lipstick, providing only a hint of the strong color so it wouldn’t compete with the rest of her look. So if you have a favorite bold lipstick shade that you want to wear with your colorful printed look, you definitely can! Just take Lovato’s lead and make sure that it is bold enough to be noticed, but soft enough to not compete with the other colors in your outfit.

Modeling Their Point

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an article from Buzzfeed in which six of their female staff members decided to recreate photos of Victoria’s Secret models wearing the brand’s latest swimsuits. Each staffer chose the swimsuit and image they wanted to recreate, and they not only shared the final product, they also shared their thoughts while modeling the swimsuits.

Several of the staffers expressed their discomfort and uneasiness about being photographed in a bathing suit, explaining how comparing themselves to the models made them feel especially uncomfortable about their bodies and their looks. However, at the end of the process, each staff member felt that the experience was positive overall, concluding that not only are we all beautiful in our own ways, but also that true beauty has no definitive size or shape.

While the Buzzfeed staff reached a positive conclusion, many readers seemed to be less-than-appreciative of the piece. Several commenters immediately railed the staff for using the term “real women” when referring to themselves, claiming that by using the term, they were labeling the models as “aliens,” as one commenter phrased it.

Although the commenters are correct in that the models are no less “real” than the Buzzfeed staff, it seems that they are missing the overall point of the article. The point of the piece was to show that no matter what size or shape a woman is, they can still be beautiful in a swimsuit; they don’t have to be a model’s size to feel like they can look good in a swimsuit, but rather they are already beautiful as they are. This was not about alienating the models or making them out to be anything less than ‘real women.’ Just because models have slender bodies does not mean they aren’t ‘real women.’ Nor are slender women that we see everyday less ‘real’ just because they are skinny. All women of all shapes, sizes, heights and skin tones are ‘real.’

What these six Buzzfeed staff members set out to prove was that we as women don’t have to feel obligated to look like models in order to feel comfortable in a swimsuit. After modeling the swimsuits, one staffer even said, “You don’t have to look like the model to rock the suits!” Another commented, saying “We may not all be models, but the world is a runway for ALL of us.” The point of the article, then, was not to throw shade at models or skinny women; the point was to show that all women are beautiful in their own ways, whether we are a carbon copy of a Victoria’s Secret model, a size 2, a size 12 or a size 22.

The last sentence of the article says, “Remember, no matter your size or your shape…you’re fabulous.” This is the the point of the article — that all women of all shapes and sizes are fabulous and beautiful, and the six staffers certainly modeled this point.

What do you think about this piece? I’d love to hear from you, so drop be a comment below!

XO,

Nicole

She Leads, You Follow: Swimsuit Edition

Now that summer has officially started, it’s time to start shopping for the most important purchase of the season — a swimsuit. And not just any swimsuit, a flattering swimsuit that makes you feel confident and beautiful in your own skin. This seems like an impossible feat, but it looks like some of our favorite celebrities have already done the shopping for us!

Several celebrities have taken to Instagram to post their favorite summer swimsuits, and they seem to unanimously favor one in particular: the Mara Hoffman Lattice Maillot swimsuit. Celebrities from Beyoncé to Mindy Kaling have posted pictures wearing the suit, both looking equally gorgeous in the flattering style.

Photo credit Instagram / beyonce, found on Popsugar.com

Photo credit Instagram / Beyoncé, found on Popsugar.com. Beyoncé in the Mara Hoffman Lattice Maillot swimsuit in natural.

Photo credit Instagram / mindykaling, found on Popsugar.com. Mindy Kaling in the Mara Hoffman Lattice Maillot swimsuit in Kaleidoscopic.

Photo credit Instagram / mindykaling, found on Popsugar.com. Mindy Kaling in the Mara Hoffman Lattice Maillot swimsuit in Kaleidoscopic.

The Insta-famous swimsuit retails for $253, and because of all buzz created around the suit, it has become unavailable on most websites, including the Mara Hoffman site. But, the elements of this swimsuit that make it so flattering can be found in other looks. Here are a few details to look for when you go shopping for swimsuits this season:

  1. Well-placed cutouts – What makes the Mara Hoffman suit so flattering is that the cutouts are positioned in the most flattering spot for anyone who wears it. By placing the cutouts from the center of the chest down to the hips, it creates a slimming effect; it allows us to focus on the narrow strip of material at the center of the suit, tricking us into seeing a slimmer silhouette.
  2. Proportional prints – Kaling’s suit delivers a pretty bold print, but it doesn’t overwhelm her. That’s because she chose a print that is proportional to her frame. When shopping around for printed swimsuits (or printed anything, for that matter), the print must be proportional to your stature, meaning that women who are bigger in stature (in height or weight or both) can wear bigger prints, while women who are smaller in stature (in height or weight or both) can wear smaller prints.
  3. Open necklines – One of the reasons why the Mara Hoffman swimsuit works on a variety of body types is that it has a v-neck construction, which is universally flattering. A v-neck not only helps to elongate your frame by making your neck look longer, it can also emphasize your bust, making it seem a little bit bigger to help balance out a fuller hip. So when you hit the stores in search of the perfect swimsuit, try on a few styles that that have a v-neck; you’ll be surprised how flattering it can be!

The Girl Gang Game

From Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video to Madonna’s “B*tch I’m Madonna” video, the girl gang seems to be everywhere. And on Tuesday, Yahoo Style’s Kayleen Schaefer tackled the topic head-on, attempting to answer the question we’ve all had on our minds when it comes to girl gangs: are these allegiances real?

The article, entitled “Why We’re Obsessed With Girl Gangs Right Now,” called upon psychologist and friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. to provide some insight to this new type of celebrity friendship. Levine explained that these friendships are real, stating that successful women need to be friends with other successful women because “‘Whether she’s a celebrity or a CEO, a star never knows whom she can trust. She’s usually surrounded by people whose livelihood depends on hers.’”

Furthermore, the fact that the members of these ‘celebrity sororities’ are all living similar lives and experiencing similar things allows them a chance to form a true friendship. Levine told Yahoo Style, “‘These women are equals, which offers the possibility for true friendships. Moreover, when there is mutual respect and admiration, women can be informal mentors and role models to one another.'”

The article also points out that the public is largely fascinated by girl gangs for two reasons: there is a stereotype present in our society that true friendship among successful females rarely exists because females jump into competition with other hard-working females, and since these girl gangs are quite rare, they can feel fake or forced, leading us to question the integrity of the friendship. But Levine explains that because these relationships are “‘volitional'” — they chose to enter these friendships — they come together in a way that creates a sort of ‘sisterhood’ in which they can bond over their similarities and support each other as a result.

The idea of the girl gang is certainly different —we have been conditioned to believe that successful women are in a state of perpetual competition with each other, that women are always trying to out-do and one-up other women. To see groups of women sticking together and supporting each other looks promising, but it also makes us immediately question the validity of those friendships. And it shouldn’t.

It is more than possible for women to be friends, allies and confidants to each other, especially when they all work in similar industries. As Levine explained to Yahoo Style, these women all know what each other is going through, so they can not only offer each other support and advice, they can also be trustworthy friends because they are in the same positions; they know that being successful often attracts false friends that only seek their friendship for personal benefits, so finding friends among peers is a safe option.

Girl gangs tell the young girls of our society that real friendship among women is possible; they tell girls that being successful does not automatically isolate them to a life of constant competition with other women. In fact, girl gangs show that women are not alone in their quests to be successful, and that there are women out there that can serve as mentors to them to help them achieve their goals.

Female friendship isn’t a farce. The rise of the girl gang is [hopefully] only the beginning of changing the image of females from competitive and catty to comradely and cordial.

XO,

Nicole